Skinner: Keep investing in DHS


The Homeland Security Department’s inspector general, Richard Skinner, is worried that the stalled economy and ballooning budget deficit will prompt the next Congress to shift money away from the department’s management functions.

So many of these programs are just starting to get traction. But they’re still woefully underfunded… we still need to invest in these management support functions.

The biggest “traction,” Skinner said, is in financial management: The Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be able to offer clean audits by the end of fiscal 2009 (Skinner acknowledged that “it should have been done a year ago”). They’re the last two civilian agencies in DHS without sound financial management systems.

The Coast Guard, though, is still three or four years away from a clean audit. And acquisitions management is a thornier issue: Skinner said there “just weren’t enough” qualified managers anywhere in the government.

Skinner also weighed in on the transition during an hourlong interview this morning:

I’ve never seen anything as well-organized and well-focused, and I’ve been in government for a long time.

Obama’s national security transition team said it was receiving “excellent cooperation” from career and political officials at DHS, Skinner said.


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